Do I Need a Therapist and How Do I Find One?
The incidence of anxiety, depression, and drug/alcohol use has increased dramatically during the pandemic. If you have noticed that you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression that are getting in the way of your work, relationships, family, hobbies, sleep, your health, or any of your normal activities and these symptoms have been happening for at least 2 weeks, it is probably time to think about getting a therapist and/or talking to your primary care provider. Finding a therapist is a great way to get additional support, have a confidential and judgement free zone to discuss how you are feeling, and to develop strategies and coping skills to help you manage your emotions.
Finding a therapist
Finding a therapist can feel a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before. There are several strategies you can use to find a therapist.
Psychologytoday.com - They have an easy to use portal where you can search for a therapist who treats your specific symptoms that you’d like help with. Each therapist has a detailed profile telling you about themselves and their practice. This can give you a sense of the person. You can also refine your search to show only therapists who take your insurance.
Get recommendations from medical professionals, friends, or family,
You can google “therapists” or "counselors" in your area.
Contact your insurance company to see which therapists take your insurance.
A note on insurance: there is a growing trend among therapists to have private pay practices and not accept insurance. There are a lot of very good reasons this is happening but I will leave that explanation for another day. If you can afford it, I recommend looking at these therapists too. If your insurance policy has “out of network coverage” your therapist can provide a detailed receipt called a "superbill" that you can submit to your insurance company for at least partial reimbursement and sometimes they cover the whole thing.
With the pandemic, there have been a lot of changes in how therapists provide services. Many therapists are seeing clients using secure video platforms or by phone. The good news about this is you can literally see your therapist from the comfort and privacy of your own home or office. With teletherapy you can also see any therapist in the state in which you reside. Some people are skeptical about online therapy; I was too initially. I’ve been a therapist for 16 years and the work that clients have done with me over the last 13 months on video calls has been just as healing and impactful as when I met with people in person, pre-pandemic. I was the biggest skeptic, but now I love it!
Most therapists in private practice will offer a 15 to 20-minute free consultation by phone or video call. I think that this step is a very valuable part of the search for a therapist. During the consult you can find out the following information:
Are they accepting new clients?
Are they seeing clients in person or by teletherapy?
Do they have time slots that meet your needs?
Did you feel comfortable during the consult? Studies show that having a positive, trusting, therapeutic relationship with your therapist is the most influential factor in successful outcomes in therapy.
Do they have knowledge in helping people with the symptoms you are experiencing?
Do they take your insurance and/or what is the fee for a session?
So, if you have been thinking about therapy, do it. Life is too short to spend it being anxious, depressed, and struggling. Reach out and start moving toward positive change.